a drop in the ocean

My late model GMC Yukon would email me at the end of every month and update me on its activity for the past thirty days, autopersonal communication. And every once in a while behind the wheel I could talk to someone about a restaurant reservation or directions and every time they’d know exactly where I was.

My Miata had a Lojack system in it, a little black box that would track every move that little roadster made, including the quarter mile moves and the gymkhanas.

And my iPhone tags my location history, or rather its location history, up to a thousand times a day.

So they say.

We’ve been surrendering all kinds of data long before all this big-bother-bruhaha has plagued Apple. And after all this time, I’m still confused as to why we are so bothered by this. What is it we’re so desperate to hide? Or is it we just don’t want anyone to know anything about us. If that’s your case, it would be best for you to drop off the grid, but if you’ve waited until now, you’re too late.

If you’ve ever swiped a card with a magnetic stripe you’ve surrendered something about you. If you’ve bought a lotto ticket, passed a photo-cop at illicit speeds, had your photograph taken by the department of Motor Vehicles in your state, someone is watching you and knows where you’ve been. Sent in the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstake form? Filed your taxes? Not filed your taxes? Have you registered for college courses?

You’ve given up the gig, man. They know. They’re watching you. Even from above. They’ve got spy satellites that can tell the make and model of the BBQ in your back yard.

If you’re an enemy of the State you have something to worry about.

If you’re afraid GM is going to void the warranty on your new ‘Vette because OnStar can tell your quarter mile time, I have to say, you want something to worry about.

Facebook’s half billion users is testament to the fact that we’re all willing to surrender something for something else. Checking in anywhere is an admission to being watched. And you’ve done so, knowing full well that you just may be located by someone somewhere.

Usually it’s someone who gives a crap, nary, though the State Department, the IRS, Apple or Google. Yes, you’ve surrendered a couple hundred bits of data along the way, lost in the fifteen petabytes worth uploaded to the cloud everyday, a drop in the ocean.

So, if you’re really serious about this big brother thing and are bothered by the propensity of a device knowing just where you’ve been, dump the device, or watch where you’re going. For the rest of us adopters, the benefits still outweigh the costs.

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One Response to a drop in the ocean

  1. Brett Menzie says:

    This post is beyond true, Eric. Some people and groups make a big deal about nothing. I liked Steve Jobs’ email reply to a consumer concern. He gave a short answer that summed things up quite well.

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